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Thursday, April 18, 2019

Guided Tour - Dartmouth

No matter which side of the harbour you’re on, the shops, services and restaurants available in today’s Dartmouth are worth a special trip.

Posted on Thu, Apr 18, 2019 at 4:00 AM


You're Timeless to Me
John's Lunch is a 50-year-old diner, and they're not trying to hide the fact.

Why would they? John's has been a gathering place for families since the 1970s—kids have grown up on their food, and they've even brought their own kids in for their first French fry.

This legendary diner is known for their quality fresh-beef burgers, real turkey sandwiches and '70s-style thick-crust pizza. Their local clams and award-wining fish and chips have hungry Haligonians flying down straight from the airport after they've been away; John's is always is their first stop back because they know there's no other fish out there that will satisfy their maritime craving.

The quality of their food is the reason John's Lunch has won three Best of Food categories, including Best Seafood. These are timeless recipes, \guarded and passed down through their loyal staff. Maintaining the Dartmouth tradition is what sets them apart, and will keep people coming back another 50 years. John's Lunch, 352 Pleasant Street

Guilt-Free Lebanese Eats
Byblos Lebanese & Mediterranean Cuisine is the destination for incredible Mediterranean flavours. When you visit Byblos, you will not only enjoy the food but also the relaxing atmosphere. The chef and his team create a family-like welcoming that gives you the opportunity to learn about Mediterranean culture away from Lebanon. You will also enjoy watching the chef freshly cooking your meals right in front of you.

This restaurant ensures that they are fulfilling everyone's taste buds by serving a range of platters that suits both meat eaters and vegans. They are proud to be supporting local businesses, and share the list of their sources online and on their menu. Enjoy your meal in-house or take it home! It is not to be missed.

Look for the coupon in this issue of The Coast for 25 percent off the evening menu. Offer ends April 25.

Byblos Lebanese & Mediterranean Cuisine 644 Portland Street

All Vibes Welcome
Feel your energy shift the minute you walk through the doors of Into the Mystic—this spiritual shop is where you can come in and reconnect with your inner self. Through their psychic and intuitive services like chakra balancing, feng shui, palm readings and numerology, you'll walk out feeling more aligned than you have in a while.

They offer a salt halotherapy booth to help with breathing, skin and mood issues, as well as a jade infrared mat for circulation and pain issues like fibromyalgia.

The focus of Into the Mystic isn't just to help with your emotional and physical balancing, but also to bring light into the lives around you. Pick a gift for a loved one that has energetic meaning and has visual and emotional healing purposes. This shop houses the largest crystal collection on the east coast with one-of-a-kind imported treasures you will only find here.

Into The Mystic, 1082 Cole Harbour Road

We're Loving Them Apples
Cideries are so big right now, it's a good thing that apples do grow on trees.

Nova Scotia has some of the best apples in North America and Lake City Cider knows that it would be a shame to let our other fresh summer fruits go to waste. They build on the booming craft cider movement by playing with fun flavours and showing us that there is more to cider than the traditional apple.

With eight local taps on site, you'll spot a few unique flavours: Red Head, made with strawberries; Exit 6 Oxford, a blueberry cider; and if you're having trouble sleeping, the Tea & Honey chamomile cider is your ideal bedtime treat. For a limited time in June, you can even sip on their District Pride Rose, the sponsored cider for Halifax Pride.

Lake City Cider is where a love of Dartmouth meets a love of cider. These two worlds collide in an adventurous recipe that we're sure you've never tasted before.

Lake City Cider, 35 Portland Street

The Bar that Starts us off Right
The Watch that Ends the Night is where alternative meets comfort—just let your bartender know what you're craving, and they'll whip up something that's all your own.

Their cocktail presence is strong, but this Best New Bar is known for more than their innovative drinks. Their talented kitchen team brainstorms a rotating menu every other week, and there's constantly something new coming from head Chef Janie. On a bi-monthly basis, she collaborates with a featured NSCC culinary arts graduate to bring a six-course dinner series to life. You just need to sit back and let yourself be serenated by the live tunes of Barometer Rising.

Weekday adventurers are encouraged at The Watch—and they're even rewarded with special promos like a Dartmouth Neighbours discount on Mondays, burger features on Tuesdays and live jazz music on Wednesdays with no cover. Make a reservation, because a night at The Watch is a night you don't want to miss.

The Watch that Ends The Night 15 King's Wharf Place

A Delicious Neighbourhood Takeover
It's every sailor's dream to own a brewery, and retired navy cook Bill Pratt finally gets to live out his. Not only does he keep busy with Cheese Curds and Habaneros, but right across the parking lot you'll find his new Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse. Bill is taking over the neighbourhood with his clever recipes, and let's just say our mouths are watering already.

The slow-smoked brisket and ribs are tender, the beef is juicy, and the craft beer is the perfect balance of hoppy and malty. You can keep with the southern flair and break corn bread with your buds on a Friday night, and you won't regret ordering a pulled pork sandwich or the smoked jackfruit.

Bill continues to craft unique recipes, including ones for vegans and vegetarians. You can expect more plant-based menu items across all three of his restaurants this summer. We know that whatever he comes up with, he'll bring the same quality of creativity and innovation to our plates. 

Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse 612 Windmill Road

Dartmouth Expanded
Watching Dartmouth grow in the last year has been soul-fulfilling and hunger-satisfying. The area's ample restaurants keep surprising us with their unique flavour fusions, and the cideries and bars are constantly crafting something delicious. These new expansions to the HRM have been driving in both locals and tourists to see what all the fuss is about (and we promise, you won't be disappointed when you arrive).

Tim Rissesco, Executive Director with the Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission, says, "There is so much that you can only experience in downtown Dartmouth! Our compact district is home to some of the best independent shops and restaurants in the country.

"Two thousand nineteen is another year of growth for downtown Dartmouth, with two new fitness facilities—Queensbury Rules Boxing Studio and REBEL Studio and TicTacGo— setting a new standard for escape rooms in the region," he adds.

It's amazing to see how much there is to do on this side of the harbour—these are unique experiences that can't be found anywhere else.  

Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission, 163 Portland Street

Designs through the decades
In their second year of business, Retrospekt is bringing even more mid-century modern furniture to the HRM. Dating back to the 1950s and '60s, these are one-of-a-kind pieces that you won't find anywhere else. With their new Best of Halifax status, Retrospekt has been able to build more of a local presence. The perk of purchasing more locally is that the owners never know what new product will pop through their doors.

With Retrospekt's rotating inventory, there's sure to be a piece of restored furniture suited for the collector and novice alike. Find excitement in furnishing your first condo or in redecorating your long-term home—there's never any sales pressure when you walk through their doors. They believe in taking the time to find that original piece that suits your style.

Whether it's a new sofa, accent chair, dining set or bedroom set you're looking for, you'll find your perfect match in a piece of furniture that is authentic, versatile and timeless.

Retrospekt, 166 Ochterloney Street

Taking The HRM By "Perfect Storm"
We've been drinking their locally made sodas for years, whether it's straight-up or mixed in with clever cocktails around town. Now, Propeller is taking the soda industry to the next level with their own brand: Windmill Craft Cocktails.

Their first batch back in September mixed locally blended rum and Dartmouth-made ginger beer for a "Perfect Storm" and the HRM went wild for it. This line of ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages are expanding to make more of your favourite easy-drinking cocktails.

This week, you can try the new a Vodka Soda with Grapefruit & Lime—it's what all the cool kids are doing. It's clean, light and refreshing with natural flavours, and available in Propeller stores this week and will be in NSLCs later this month.

  After Christmas, they launched a Small Batch Program, where Windmill partners with local bartenders and play off of their cutting-edge cocktail trends for a one-off crafted drink (next one out soon!).  

Propellor Brewing Co., 617 Windmill Road

The Cat's Out Of The Bag
We have to let you in on the best Kept secret in the Dartmouth area, because this charming store is the ideal one-stop shop for all gift-giving occasions. Anyone who unwraps one of Kept's well-designed items is going to be the happiest receiver.

The store will win you over with its cat-themed items, and who could resist the adorable squirrel on their logo? Kept's selection is impeccable, and the staff really go above and beyond to make sure that you find exactly what you came in looking for (and maybe a few items that weren't on your list). With knick-knacks and kitchen gadgets galore, you won't be able to leave with just the essentials.

Grab that perfect Maritime trinket for a friend who is living away from home and needs a little taste of the salty sea. With so many locally made and fair-trade items, you'll never feel guilty when shopping at Kept.

Kept Gifts & Housewares, 75 King Street

Live More, Stress Less
Brighten your day with 10,000 square feet of lighting and cabinetry at Station12 Lighting | Kitchen | Bath. The family operated business has provided us with all of our lighting needs for 15 years. They continue to handle the "behind the scenes" layout work for us and never fail to provide customers—in Dartmouth and beyond—with recommendations and technical aspects so our lighting projects can be done stress-free.

Their fashion-forward showroom keeps up with current trends through an inventory rotation, but still offers clients classic pieces that suit every space. With 40-plus suppliers, and housing Atlantic Canada's largest selection for residential, commercial and hospitality lighting, you're sure to find something in your style and budget.

Their team adds to the "light" environment with their lively personalities and passion for the products, which shines through in each project they work on. They're all certified through the American Lighting Association and their kitchen designers boast years of experience and passion, so you can feel confident knowing that you are dealing with the best. Station12 Lighting Kitchen

560 Windmill Road

Southern Italy next door
In need of a vacation? Il Trullo Ristorante brings the feel of southern Italy right to Downtown Dartmouth for you. Sit amongst the natural structure based off a trullo, the unique conical roof found in southern Italy, and let yourself be transported to its home region of Puglia.

Who needs to hop on a plane when you have the view of the water right here? Il Trullo ties the Mediterranean vibe together with light olive oil-based sauces and incorporating local fish into the menu items. With homemade traditional lasagnas, squid ink risotto and their bestselling ravioli fungi, you're sure to get your Italian fix.

Il Trullo was designed with the idea of incorporating recycled, local and natural materials to make the interior space sustainable. The owners are passionate about sustainability and have trained their staff on their aggressive recycling and composting programs. With compostable take-away containers and paper straws, eating at Il Trullo really does mean going back to our natural elements.

Il Trullo Ristorante, 67 King's Wharf Place

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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Get hitched with East Coast Pop Up Weddings

Sarah Anderson’s new company makes elopements and tiny weddings easy.

Posted By on Wed, Apr 17, 2019 at 4:51 PM

  • CHRIS AND Amber Photography

Sarah Anderson wants to help you set virtual fire to your Pinterest wedding board and just elope instead. Anderson, the founder of East Coast Pop Up Weddings as well as an administrative justice of the peace, saw a hole in the wedding marketplace a year ago.

"I would get lots of couples who were looking for a JP, but people were asking for a few little extras that you might not get at a courthouse," she says.

Now, she offers those missing flourishes in a set of packages like The Modern Elopement, which includes artisanal cake and refreshments, and the Tiny Wedding, which lives up to its name with a guestlist of eight.

This weekend, though, East Coast Pop Up Weddings is taking the ready-made wedding one step further, throwing an event titled Pop Up Love in the upstairs of The Stubborn Goat (1579 Grafton Street), where four couples can tie the knot (though Anderson is quick to note only one slot remains).

"For lack of a better way to explain it, it's like a Vegas wedding chapel where you show up, get your bouquet, get married and then go do some photos with Applehead Photography. You pick a timeslot and you bring 20 friends and you have a ceremony," Anderson offers, adding that a champagne toast at the bar is included in the $2,500 cost. "So many brides and grooms, they get a ring on their finger and then there's this rabbit hole they fall into," she adds. But, "that whole attitude of 'Let's just get married,' that will never stop being romantic." —Morgan Mullin

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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Primordial Yoga finds strength in numbers

This intimate place of practice aims to be more of a healing space than a studio.

Posted By on Wed, Apr 10, 2019 at 5:11 PM


When Taylor Alexandra first started practicing yoga, it was a solo journey—a coping mechanism that allowed her to connect with herself in a way she'd never experienced. It wasn't until years later that she finally brought her practice into a studio setting, testing out a class at downtown Halifax's Shanti Yoga for no other reason than "Why not?"

"When I was going through difficult times and barriers, they weren't as difficult when I was practicing with others. I found more resilience then I had otherwise. It was progress in a different way," she says. "I learned through that I wanted to be able to share that with others. I knew what I was getting in the studio I could increase 10-fold by doing training."

Now, with eight years of practice behind her, and training in kundalini yoga, she's opening her own space—Primordial Yoga (3323 Agricola Street)—an intimate setting for folks to feel the power of strength in numbers. Its aim is to be more of a "healing centre" than a yoga studio, with classes catering to groups of five or six, says Alexandra. "I really wanted to have a client-focused, small-group approach to how I offer yoga because it is very intense and can be intimidating for a newcomer coming into a class of 30 people." Primordial will offer classes in nidra, kundalini and hatha yoga—as well as a gentle, trauma-informed hatha—and gong bathing.

Find Primordial's entire April schedule, and prices for both drop-ins and members, at primordial.life. —AS

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SHOP THIS: suite’s sweet hair accessories

Grin and barrette with this pop-up dealer.

Posted By on Wed, Apr 10, 2019 at 5:07 PM

  • Akram Hamdan

When Kristi MacDonald, fashion fiend and co-owner of rchmnd (1869 Granville Street), was getting married last year, she scoured shops for the right barrette only to continuously come up empty-handed. When she finally landed on a look she liked, MacDonald—thanks to her wide-spanning connections in the fashion world—ordered a whack of hair accessories from Australia, and planned to gift them to friends and family with similar taste. Then, thinking nothing of it, she posted a her haul on Instagram.

After an outpouring of oooos, ahhhs and DMs begging for details, suite was born. "It's no secret that hair accessories are having a major moment this season, but to date, they have really only been available online through International," meaning mega shipping and duty costs, says MacDonald. She went back to her contacts and ordered an even bigger batch for Haligonian shoppers and, last weekend, hosted a her first pop-up (and sell-out) as an accessory dealer. Now she's planning her next event for April 27 at Sweet Pea Boutique, this time with more items that might appeal to brides, bridesmaids and wedding guests with barrettes on the brain.

And while she's sticking with hair stuff for the time being, MacDonald will follow where fashion leads her. "We have deep roots in the global fashion industry," she says, "and as we travel and observe the latest in fashion around the world, we look forward to bringing what's going on, in real time, to Canada." Follow along with the latest and most adorable at @__suite.

  • Akram Hamdan
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Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Indulgence celebrates 10 years in the business of intimacy

"Entrepreneurs wear a lot of hats," says owner Shannon Marshall.

Posted By on Tue, Apr 2, 2019 at 4:09 PM

Indulgence's colourful corner on Portland Street - VIA FACEBOOK
  • Indulgence's colourful corner on Portland Street
  • via Facebook

A decade ago, Shannon Marshall took a risk and opened a shop dedicated to intimate clothing and accessories—for women, by women—in downtown Dartmouth. At the time, the neighbourhood was quieter, the online world was worlds away from where it is today and the local options for safe, supportive, inclusive shops for sexy stuff were limited.

“I had been lucky enough to do a little bit of travelling in my early 20s and I saw a couple of shops in Europe that were just beautiful, and really geared towards women. They were selling garments in all sizes,” says Marshall of her inspiration. “I did a fair amount of market research with friends and colleagues, and a lot of places just kind of creeped us out. Everyone has their demographic but no one was targeting women. You’ve got big box stores with lots of lingerie but they stop at extra-large. My number one size I can’t keep in the store is 2X. ”

Her shop, Indulgence Intimate Products & Apparel (30 Portland Street), was born out of this idea in 2009 and became a reality thanks to help from her mother, and retail boss, Barbara. At the time the boutique brought books, bras, lingerie, sex toys, sensual creams and lubes to the table.

“As we became more established we’ve eliminated bras and books because there’s a fantastic bookstore across the pond at Venus Envy, and there are fantastic bra stores like Lily’s and Custom Curves. So we thought, let’s stick to what we’re good at,” says Marshall.

And that’s putting shoppers at ease in an environment that can be awkward to navigate.

Indulgence still sells a wide variety of naughty apparel, bondage, vibrators, games and oils—online and in-store— and aims to make the process of buying them simple. “The first challenge is getting people in the door, the second is to make them comfortable enough to actually ask the questions they want answers for,” says Marshall. “There is that mindset where people still tend to be embarrassed. Everyone has those friends that are really open, but the bulk of people are shy.” She credits shop dog, Goldie the golden retriever, with helping to set a chill tone for Indulgence.

Ten years in, Marshall says it's been a rollercoaster making her entrepreneurial dreams come true, and she's thankful for the support of her neighbours, fellow small business owners and, of course, the customers.

"It leaves me speechless to be honest. I never really thought we’d make it this far, there’ve been times we’ve wanted to give up," she says. "This will be the best summer ever for downtown Dartmouth."
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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Treasure hunt with Twice Clothing

Jordan Britten's online thrift shop is popping up irl on Saturday

Posted By on Wed, Mar 27, 2019 at 5:23 PM


When Jordan Britten turned 19, she couldn’t wait to go to the bar. That is until she realized that she looked a lot like every other 19-year-old there. “That American Apparel dress,” she says of her thrift shop awakening. “I stopped shopping at American Apparel and H&M and the places everyone was going. I’ve become obsessed with it—it’s like treasure hunting. I zone out, turn off my phone and do my thing.”

A year ago she took her well-honed thrift obsession and made it a business. It started when she was moving apartments and cleaning out her closet—after posting a bunch of clothing on her Instagram for sale she noticed, people liked and wanted her style. Next thing she knew, she was hosting a pop-up. Then another one.

“It was just something I was already doing and everybody was like, ‘Can you thrift for me?’” she says.

Now, just over a year later Twice Clothing is celebrating its growth with another pop-up, this Saturday from noon to 3pm at Brightwood Brewery (35 Portland Street). “Our seasons never line up with the real world, it’s an awkward transition,” says Britten. She’ll be cleaning out her collection of winter stuff with some sales, and urging spring to reveal itself with some colours and patterns that beckon warmer weather.

“I travel a lot for work, so even if I see a thrift store on the way to where I’m going I go in and set a timer,” says the Twice Clothing owner of her collections. “I think to challenge myself with ‘How many treasures can you find in 15 minutes?’ I pop into random thrift stores from the east to west coast.”

Britten says she’s constantly developing “hit lists” based on needs from her shoppers (size variety being the biggest one). If you can’t catch her person this Saturday, follow @twice.clothing_ for regular updates or to add your needs (wants) to her next hunt.
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Thursday, February 21, 2019

Props Floral Design's next generation

The Hydrostone florist has changed hands after 21 years.

Posted By on Thu, Feb 21, 2019 at 2:20 AM

Jayme Melrose and Ashley MacNeill - KYLEE NUNN
  • Jayme Melrose and Ashley MacNeill
  • Kylee Nunn

The new year has brought new growth to veteran florist Props Floral Design (5533 Young Street). After 20-plus years at the helm, owner Susan MacIntosh has sold the Hydrostone business to her niece and longtime employee Ashley MacNeill and the Halifax’s garden doula herself, Jayme Melrose. Recently returning from maternity leave, MacNeill—who at just 35 has worked at the shop for half her life—says she’s excited to maintain Props’ reputation for quality while simultaneously building on it.

“I think we have a really complementary skill set,” says Melrose of the blooming partnership. “She’s a florist who can do literally anything and knows what the shop needs to run, and I have the accounting background from Common Roots.” Melrose’s work with Halifax’s urban farm is what helped her build a relationship with the florist in the first place. “I started selling flowers to the shop from Common Roots four years ago—I sold a lot of flowers to the shop and got to know the folks here,” she says. “I was wanting to grow more flowers so I was spending more time at the shop when I learned the owner was looking to sell.”

Melrose, who still pitches in with the urban farm on a part-time basis and teaches Halifax’s Bloom Institute for Herbal Studies, hopes to help Props expand its selection to include more herbs, edibles and local plants. She also hopes to nurture relationships with as many social enterprises as possible.
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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

SHOP THIS: The Valentine's Edition

Here’s looking at you, last-minute lovebirds.

Posted By on Wed, Feb 13, 2019 at 6:30 PM

In the (sort of) words of crooner Frank Loesser, you'd love to be on a slow boat to Dartmouth with them. - SUBMITTED PHOTO
  • In the (sort of) words of crooner Frank Loesser, you'd love to be on a slow boat to Dartmouth with them.
  • Submitted photo

First you were running late on all of your Valentine’s Day gestures, then the snow storm hit and you didn’t leave your blanket fort for the entirety of Wednesday. Now you need physical proof you love your loved one, and it’s down to the wire. Lucky for you, Inkwell Modern Handmade Boutique (2011 Brunswick Street) is prepared to help. Not only can you find scads of locally made stationery with cute metaphors and puns (see this pictured Inkwell Original, $6), but the boutique is also hosting a V-Day pop-up with Flora Flower Studio from 2-6pm. Small rustic bouquets will run for $45, larger for $60, and if you didn’t pre-order yours online you better run, too.

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Unconditional Body Love

Jessie Harrold celebrates her body and yours—the way they are—with her debut book, Project Body Love.

Posted By on Wed, Feb 13, 2019 at 6:23 PM

Harrold says her readers' feedback reminds her of the Cheryl Strayed quote: "I write to tell the truth about my life and what happens is people feel I’ve told the truth about theirs." - SUBMITTED
  • Harrold says her readers' feedback reminds her of the Cheryl Strayed quote: "I write to tell the truth about my life and what happens is people feel I’ve told the truth about theirs."
  • Submitted

Sometimes what we crave most is a bolt of lightning, a moment of pristine clarity. But, if Jessie Harrold knows anything, it’s that we need to capture the lightning for ourselves—that we have to decide what things are sure and certain. The life coach, doula and mother of two—who’s recently added author to her list of job titles—describes this feeling when she began the quest of body positivity after the birth of her youngest child.

“As the process of trying to find acceptance in myself went on, I sort of finished 98 percent of [my book, Project Body Love] and I was like ‘there’s something that’s gonna happen here.’ So the book sat, mostly finished, waiting for this shiny, happy ending. It wasn’t until I realized, ‘Oh no, I live in the world, and the world is never gonna stop telling me this body isn’t OK,’” that she realized “unconditional body love felt like a big ask all of a sudden.”

This surprisingly honest take that centres on self-acceptance and self-compassion is documented in real time, she adds. “I had started the process, realizing I had always lived with a lot of self-loathing, thinking ‘OK, what haven’t I done before? That everyone hasn’t already done before, that could move the needle on how I feel about myself?” she says. “I assumed that there was gonna be a change to my physical shape that occurred along this process for me to come to a place of acceptance. It wasn’t until I found the Health at Every Size movement and I started to realize what a lifetime of dieting had done to my body… I was floored by the idea that I could be healthy in the body that I was in.

“I was told by an agent, ‘You know you don’t have a huge following, you’re just an average person, you’re not a fat activist, this is just everybody’s story.’ And I took that as ‘Yeah, this is everybody’s story,’” Harrold continues. The self-published book was released officially this week at projectbodylove.com, and in coming weeks it will also be available at local shops. “I feel like I kind of accidentally wrote this for every woman who’s just like me and doesn’t have this understanding of the larger cultural context of which we have to navigate.”

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Thursday, February 7, 2019

Where I work: Downeast Trophies

To mark 40 years in business, owner Mike McGuigan gives us a peek inside the trophy case.

Posted By on Thu, Feb 7, 2019 at 3:17 PM

  • Rachel McGrath
Mike McGuigan didn’t aspire to become a trophy maker. In 1980, fresh out of high school and wondering what to do with his life, he was tasked with running his father’s new north end business, Downeast Trophies. At the time, he had no idea that this would become his career, and that one day he would look back on 40 years of trophy making with a sense of accomplishment. “My dad and I were proud of this place,” McGuigan says. He taps the name plate on his office desk that reads, “Ed McGuigan.” “He’ll always be a part of the business. We did it all together.” His father passed away almost nine years ago, but his legacy is still alive and well.

A large portion of Downeast Trophies’ business comes from repeat customers. Year after year, trophy orders pile in for annual softball tourneys, corporate events and even motorcycle races. McGuigan recently wrapped up an order for 880 medals, 575 custom medals and 300 trophies, which took around a month to complete. But that’s nothing compared to the time he was commissioned to build a four feet by six feet plaque for the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame. “I’ve built trophies that are taller than me,” McGuigan says. “If that’s what they want, then that’s what they’ll get.” Not only does McGuigan assemble and engrave the trophies, he also does the bookkeeping, cleans the floors and occasionally delivers orders. Despite his unending list of responsibilities, he goes to work happy. “Some people hate Mondays, but I like them,” he says. “There’s no such thing as a bad day.”

  • Rachel McGrath
Upon arriving at Downeast Trophies, customers are often greeted by McGuigan’s faithful assistant, Molly. The 13-year-old golden retriever is never far from his side. Molly has a bed in his office and a stash of treats on the top shelf—just out of reach. Over the years, she has become synonymous with Downeast Trophies, and McGuigan makes sure to close every business email with “From Mike and Molly.” The store’s showroom is lined with shelves and bookcases of stock trophies, plastic signs and plaques and bulletin boards tacked with custom medals and lapel pins. In the centre of the room is a tiered stand piled high with trophies and glass awards, and at the very top sits a silver cup attached to a base of green marble. McGuigan and his father bought the cup in Italy in 1979 as their showpiece, and, as you may have guessed, it’s not for sale.

McGuigan credits much of Downeast Trophies’ reputation to his father, who taught him that honesty is the best business quality. “Whatever their needs, I’ll try to accommodate them,” McGuigan says about his customers. “Whether it’s a five dollar order or a 5,000 dollar order, you treat everyone the same.” He enjoys watching customers gaze at the trophies on display, and he swears he has seen middle-aged adults light up like kids as they poke around the shop. “Everybody likes to be recognized,” McGuigan says. “Whether you’re five or 55, if you get an award as an accomplishment, then that’s something you can look back on and be proud of forever."
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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

north and willow's clothing conscience

An online curated thrift shop focuses on sustainability and accessibility

Posted By on Wed, Jan 23, 2019 at 3:10 PM

  • Julia Chapman
Kari Beiswanger and Alex Stewart’s friendship has lasted longer than any piece of clothing in your closet, no doubt. The pair of pre-school pals and longtime thrifters are behind north and willow, an online second-hand shop and sustainable fashion initiative that launched its web store this week.

The idea started simply after a conversation at a party, Beiswanger says: “We wanted to start some sort of clothing exchange where we could get involved in the community.” It’s part of north and willow’s current program—if you’ve got stuff you don’t want or wear anymore, they’ll take it, evaluate it and trade you some store credit for it.

“We just want people to know we’re a different option for buying second-hand and consuming in a sustainable way. There’s curated thrift in the city, but we’re really focused on the sustainability and the way our impact can make a difference,” adds Beiswanger. “We also really want to be accessible. The draw to fast-fashion is that it’s accessible to most budgets. But we’ve found a lot of the curated thrift is a little bit on the pricier side. We can hopefully disrupt the way the fashion industry works.”

Earlier this week, to celebrate its shiny new online boutique, north and willow hosted the first of “periodic pop-ups” at flo meditation, selling off its latest thrifted finds and exchanged items, and plans are already in the works for a February edition.

With an aim to offer folks of all sizes (waist and wallet) ways to keep their clothing out of landfills, Beiswanger and Stewart also hope to host community workshops—on stuff like repairing and altering clothes—and connect more with their shoppers about fashion’s affinity for wasteful abundance.

“We want to see a shift in the mentality,” says Beiswanger, “and it can be hard to do that without context.”
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Thursday, January 17, 2019

R Studios' core strength

With the upcoming arrival of Rebel, Connie McInnes completes a fitness trifecta, rebrands her businesses and focuses even deeper on community

Posted By on Thu, Jan 17, 2019 at 1:53 AM

  • Ian Selig
“We want to revolutionize the way you move,” says Connie McInnes, the owner of Rio & Rogue, two fitness studios in the north end that offer a wide variety of classes—from yoga and pilates at Rio to kickboxing and kettlebell at Rogue.
In March, McInnes will open the doors to her third studio, Rebel, at the corner of Ochterloney and Wentworth in downtown Dartmouth. Rebel will act as a middle ground between Rio and Rogue where people can expect to find fast-paced yoga flows alongside strength-focused pilates and boxing classes.

With the opening of Rebel, McInnes is also rebranding her trio of gyms as R Studios. She hopes the name change will emphasize that, although there are three locations that target various fitness regimes, they are all part of one community.
“Even though each concept is unique, our story, our intention and our community remain unchanged,” McInnes says. “The principles and values of each space are maintained—we still want small classes that feel comfortable, accessible and personalized.”

Since the beginning, McInnes says community has been the core value of R Studios. A former competitive gymnast, McInnes was involved in team-based sports and athletics as a child and teenager. When she moved to Toronto as an adult, she began attending fitness classes because they felt familiar, comforting, and, more importantly, provided her with a sense of belonging.

“When I moved home, I found that all the studios here focused on just one discipline,” McInnes says. “But I always practiced a wide variety of movement, like yoga, pilates, high-intensity cardio and running.”

She decided to start a multi-dimensional studio where people could access a wide range of fitness routines. The first location, Rio, opened in 2014 in a small loft studio on Charles Street, and was followed by Rogue in 2017, which opened in a repurposed industrial warehouse on Lady Hammond Road.

McInnes says that, when it comes to appearances, R Studios is a collection of three fitness studios, but the bricks and mortar are founded on family, community and bringing people together. In order to provide a personalized and individualized experience, classes are purposefully capped at 16 to 24 at Rogue and 9 to 16 at Rio. Plus, each Friday night at Rogue, a keg is on tap to encourage people to stick around and socialize after they sweat.

“It’s about being welcoming and accessible,” McInnes says. “We want to appeal to everyone. You don’t have to be a star athlete to take our kickboxing classes. You don’t need to be comfortable with spiritual teachings to practice yoga.”
McInnes recognizes that some fitness studios promote a negative gym culture that focuses on weight-loss and results-based training. These atmospheres can be demotivating, lonely and just plain unhealthy. By contrast, R Studios maintains that it isn’t about how you look, it’s about how you feel. It isn’t necessary to leave a studio feeling burnt out, exhausted and pouring in sweat. A low impact class can be just as grounding and effective.

“These studios are about having fun while doing something positive for yourself,” McInnes says. “For us, it’s all internal—whether it’s the people you meet or how the classes make you feel. The biggest gift is hearing peoples’ stories. It drives me to see the growth that other people have experienced through our classes.” 
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Wednesday, January 9, 2019

SHOP THIS: East Coast Wedding Planner

Elegant Productions teams up with Nimbus Publishing to print its very own East Coast Wedding Planner

Posted By on Wed, Jan 9, 2019 at 4:02 PM


If you had a merry little holiday engagement and now everyone keeps asking you "when's the big day?," the local nuptial experts are here to keep your head from spinning into oblivion. Kind of a pre-wedding journal and kind of a beautiful art-filled keepsake, An East Coast Wedding Planner is the linen-bound debut publication from Halifax wedding planning and design firm Elegant Productions and its stationery arm, Elegant Paper Co. Together Katelyn Bellefontaine, Lisa MacPherson and Rebecca Dimock released the hardcover book—bursting with whimsical wedding snaps from local photographers—back in December and it's now finding its way onto local bookshop shelves. From expert Q&As, to timelines, budgets, style advice and tips for each season, the Planner aims to inspire, organize and calm nerves. Look for copies at Bookmark (5686 Spring Garden Road), as well as Chapters and Coles locations. The Nimbus Publishing website will do the trick, too.

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Audrey Flanders’ growth mindset

Dartmouth’s new tropical shop has its eyes on the green thumbs.

Posted By on Wed, Jan 9, 2019 at 3:52 PM

  • RAchel McGrath

A few days before Christmas, Audrey's Little Shop of Plants (104 Portland Street, the former home of Bodega Boutique)—a sweet spot for tropical plants and expert advice on keeping them alive—bloomed in downtown Dartmouth. It was a quiet arrival but the oasis, and its owner Audrey Flanders, are more than ready to get growing.

"I've been in horticulture my whole life," she says. "I worked in greenhouses, garden centres, landscaping." She also ran her own shop in Toronto, Stamen and Pistil Botanicals, before moving to Nova Scotia last spring where she honed a passion and expertise in tropicals. "When I was kid everyone had tropical plants and now it's coming back to that," says Flanders. She calls her boutique more of a plant spa than anything. That's because Audrey's Little Shop isn't just a place to find weird and wonderful greenery and planters—think aloes, snake plants, string of pearls and succulents—but a spot to rescue and renew the plants you already own. Flanders is happy to help customers diagnose and deal with issues their house plants are having, as well as transplant, prune or clean them.

"For me it's more about having a store for everyone. Plants are staged a lot in magazines and stuff, sometimes they're not viable, they don't grow that way," she says. "We take in plants from other stores and I don't even care as long as I can fix it."

  • RAchel McGrath

Aiming to sell beautiful things at affordable prices—and sow her expertise all through your indoor garden—Flanders is bringing in lots of hard-to-find tropicals, mixing up specialty soils and offering public classes in terrariums, moss ball planters and plant care.

She says while right now succulent and rainforest plants are having a highly-Instagrammable moment, peoples' love for them isn't a new thing, or trend that'll fade. That's why Audrey's Little Shop of Plants wants to help people pick plants that they can help thrive easily. "It has a lot to do with being able to watch something grow, having some kind of living thing near you. Everyone should be able to have beautiful things."

  • RAchel McGrath
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Thursday, January 3, 2019

Shop this: Sunday Rose Handmade

The south-shore-made skincare line is organic, cruelty-free and plant-based

Posted By on Thu, Jan 3, 2019 at 5:48 AM


Jaana Kujala
knows a lot about putting your best face forward. After starting a career in film makeup at 19, she made the shift from prosthetics to esthetics and fell in love with skin health and wellness. As a holistic skin therapist, she studied skin nutrition and the clean, natural ingredients that jive best with various skin types.

“The most healing ingredients you can use for your skin aren’t in most product lines,” says Kujala, a self-proclaimed purist who uses ingredients like tamanu oil—an anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, moisture-barrier-building seed oil— and prickly pear seed oil in her products. “With a lot of the skincare industry there’s so much marketing that goes into it and a lot of those brands don’t know what goes into skin health.”

After spending a few years experimenting with her own creations, handmaking small-batch creams, masks and elixirs for herself, she’s launched Sunday Rose Handmade, a line of organic, plant-based, cruelty-free products made in her south shore studio.

“The self-care product industry is not regulated by anything—a lot of companies do what’s called greenwashing where you have two percent of an organic ingredient and have organic on the label,” Kujala says, adding that Sunday Rose’s inaugural 10 products are a minimum of 95 percent certified organic and use GMO and pesticide-free ingredients. “Everything is really pure so you’re getting all the nutrients right into your skin.”

For now, your thirsty skin can get its fix via Kujala’s online shop where she also sells holistic beauty tools, like jade rollers and brushes, and withinUs collagen products that aren’t available anywhere else on the east coast. And if you’d like some face time with the line’s creator, she’ll be in Halifax for a pop-up next month (February 9, 1-3pm) at Bhavana Yoga Boutique (3063 Gottingen Street).
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In Print This Week

Vol 27, No 12
August 15, 2019

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